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Annual grass from fibrous roots; stems hollow, erect, (10) 20-50 cm tall.
Sheaths open, inflated; blades 1.5-2.5 mm wide, flat, more or less rough, the margins freed from the sheaths at different levels; ligules 2-7 (11) mm long, prominent, membranous, blunt, the margins coarsely jagged to toothed.
Inflorescence a dense, erect, bristly, egg-shaped, panicle 1-4 cm long; spikelets borne mostly in pairs on very short branches, the pairs each with 1 spikelet fertile, 2-flowered, the upper flowers sometimes reduced to tiny rudiments, unstalked, the other sterile, 4-5 mm long, short-stalked, much flattened and fanlike, consisting of glumes and several sterile (empty) lemmas, the lemmas similar to the glumes; glumes of the fertile spikelets 5-6 mm long, nearly equal, strongly keeled, flattened, awned, the awns 1-2.5 mm long, the glumes of the sterile spikelets keeled, fringed with short hairs, long-pointed; fertile lemmas about 5 mm long, rounded on the back, awned, the awns 3-10 mm long; lodicules about 0.2 mm long; anthers about 2 mm long.
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia